I’ve made up for my lack of cycling this winter with bike buying. I came here with three bikes. I’ll be leaving Orlando at the end of the month with two, one and a half of which are new. Nope, not a mistype. 1.5 of my bikes are now brand new.
How does one purchase Half of a bicycle? By replacing and upgrading the drivetrain. For you non-cyclists, the drivetrain is the pedal cranks, chainring, chain, and rear cassette (or the gears). My 2014 Stumpjumper is a fabulous mountain bike though starting to age a bit. If you shop for a mountain bike nowadays you’ll find that most have gone away from two chainrings up front in favor of just one, with a wider variety of gears in the back. This is referred to as a 1x (pronounced “one by”) setup. Along with this many are now available with a mind boggling, but leg helping, 12 gears. So I’ve updated my new half of bike by converting my old drivetrain to a 1×12 (“one by 12′). I’ve ridden it a few times on some of the rare but great single-track trails here in Central Florida and it’s a joy to ride. Mostly, I wanted to simplify, which I’ve done by this, but it was also time to replace those components.
Speaking of simplifying, there’s no better way to simplify a bike than by getting rid of it. I only had my gravel bike for a few of years and I enjoyed it while I had it, but I got very few chances since I’ve lived on the road to put it to good use. I found nearly all of my opportunities to ride it were as well, or better suited by riding my mountain bike instead. And schlepping around 3 bikes on an RV can be something of a pain, so I decided it was time to send her off to a better owner where she might be ridden more often.
And then there’s my new bike. BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW! I didn’t have my Trek road bike very long either, though I definitely got my fair share of rides in. I put somewhere around 5500 miles on that bike in 3 years. I had no plans whatsoever to buy a new bike this winter. Pieces just kind of fell in to place. Orlando, apparently, is not such a good place to sell your immaculately kept high-end bike. In Washington, D.C., where I’ve sold more than one bike on Craigslist, within an hour of posting I’d always have at least 2 or 3 interested inquiries. In Orlando, with my gravel bike, I got 8 interested emails, every single one of which was a scammer. My Trek garnered one.
Instead I utilized Bicycle Bluebook (bicyclebluebook.com) and their Trade-In program. I took my bikes to Wheel Works , my fantastic local shop here in Winter Garden, got them appraised and traded them in for about 2/3 of the price of the new bike. It’s a hard deal to beat getting a brand new bike for nearly 70% off. I couldn’t pass it up. So now allow me to introduce my favorite new toy….2020 Specialized Roubaix
Finally, I’ve upgraded my storage and carrying system as well. For the last two years I’ve had a standard bike rack on the back of the RV and had various bike covers on them. The covers did a fine job of protecting the bikes from the elements. The problems were those covers, as all rack covers, are open on the bottom. They’re not really designed for full time storage on the back of a moving vehicle. All manner of road-spray and such would still get them filthy. It was also quite a pain to get the middle and back bike off the rack. Last year, while at Zion National Park, I saw a small RV with this fully enclosed bike carrier and thought I’d finally found my solution.
They are made by Komo Creations in Quebec, and they are NOT inexpensive, but I think it’ll be worth the price for the added protection and security for my $6000-$7000 worth of bikes.